Opinion

Easy ride, or easy way to be taken for a ride?

Students attending the University of Miami are privileged not only to a beautiful campus and beautiful weather but to having South Beach only a 15-minute drive away. When the temptation to visit the beach for tanning or partying arises, the thought of class often falls by the wayside.

Newly-launched Canes Notes claims to provide students a way to party without academic repercussions, providing access to a database of notes for a multitude of classes.

The company offers students a three-tiered subscription option. Payments can be made on an annual, monthly or semester basis.  Varying fees are based on an inverted pyramid metaphor, with platinum as cheapest and silver as the most expensive. A subscription provides students access to a database of notes purchased by Canes Notes from a variety of fellow student note takers, with no download restrictions and 24/7 customer service. Intriguingly, the subscription tiers differ only in the payment amounts and not in benefits.  Qualifications for individuals who take the notes include a high GPA and excellent class attendance.  However the content of the notes are not guaranteed.

At some time or other, all students, party animals or not, do miss classes.  The opportunity to still have access to missing class notes is invaluable. The site claims to provide a good set of notes not the answers to a test.  So Canes Notes subscribers have to read those notes and learn the subject, even though they may not learn the art of note-taking.

After a few clicks, entering my contact information and agreeing to the site terms, I was a registered note taker.  The website’s registration process was user-friendly and quick. However, the process is eerily reminiscent of Pinocchio’s entry to Pleasure Island and subsequent transformation – also user-friendly and quick.  I then started noticing things…  If becoming a note taker is so easy, what will be the caliber of notes on this site?  What type of quality control does Canes Notes utilize?  A little questionable, to judge by the numerous spelling mistakes and grammatical errors on the website… “Hmm.  Were your ears always that long, Pinocchio?”

How well is this offer structured?  Among the subscription levels Ppatinum is cheapest and silver the most expensive, adding unnecessary confusion for potential subscribers. No matter, just a touch of business dyslexia.  Did you always have a tail? “Have another cigar, Pinocchio!”

How about the fact that all subscription levels have the same benefits, and only differ in price?  Does this suggest Canes Notes is focused only on the money they can make off students, rather than the service they deliver?  “Hey Pinocchio, there’s this really great house party in the Grove tonight.  You can sleep in tomorrow, after all you are a silver member with Canes Notes. Son of Gepetto, don’t you know college is a four-year loaf made with the old man’s dough? “

It comes down to the fact that you really don’t know what you are buying with this service.  The company suggests an offer that appears to have been carelessly cobbled together at a house party by a bunch of amateurs.  Follow blindly and, like Pinocchio, you might be made an ass of.

August 26, 2009

Reporters

Chhaya Nene

Contributing Columnist


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